The Rotary Club of Campbell River once again reached out during October to spread the word on Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio throughout the world. Covid-19 presented some challenges to our efforts; however, the Rotary ingenuity came through, and we achieved a great outcome.
We used traditional and social media to spread our message, and this proved to be effective. Pumpkins for Polio Co-Chairs, Pieter Koeleman and Gary McLelan, were interviewed during broadcasts by two local radio stations: The Raven and The River. Our local newspaper, Campbell River Mirror, published two articles in the October 20, 2021 edition. The first article described Rotary’s ongoing efforts to eradicate polio around the globe and also described our Club’s associated fundraising efforts for 2021. The second article featured an interview with a Campbell River resident who is a polio survivor. We also received great publicity when (Rotarian) Mayor Andy Adams signed a proclamation declaring October 24 World Polio Day in Campbell River.
The Rotary Club of Campbell River’s major polio fundraisers are two Pumpkins for Polio auctions. The pumpkins are generously donated each year by Dan Ludwig of Coastal Black Farms. The Club’s “in-house” Pumpkins for Polio auction was held at its regular noon meeting on October 27, where Rotarian Todd Peachey displayed his auctioneering skills. The Rotary Club members provided carved and painted pumpkins which were sold to the highest bidder!
The Club’s Pumpkins for Polio event raised approximately $8000.00 in pumpkin purchases and donations! The “public” Pumpkins for Polio auction is normally held live at a Campbell River venue; however, due to Covid-19, an online auction was held this year. We received incredible support from various groups in promoting the online auction – our local Chamber of Commerce, local newspaper, and the two local radio stations. Carved and decorated pumpkins were donated by members of the Campbell River Arts Council and several individual artists. At the end of the day, Rotary members were very pleased to learn that the online auction brought in approximately $2000.00 in pumpkin purchases and donations!
The approximately $10,000.00 raised from the two Pumpkins for Polio events will be matched 2:1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, resulting in more than $30,000.00 that will go towards global polio eradication efforts. The Rotary Club of Campbell River has a history of giving generously to the PolioPlus program. Thanks are given to our Rotary members and to the Campbell River community for supporting this worthy cause.